Dawson's hopes of going to South Africa looked to have been shattered after he was axed from Fabio Capello's final 23-man squad two weeks ago. But 72 hours later he was on a plane to Rustenburg after skipper Rio Ferdinand pulled out with a knee injury. Now Ledley King's groin problem has put the spotlight on Dawson, Matthew Upson and Jamie Carragher in the battle to play in Cape Town against the Algerians.
But Dawson, Tottenham's player of the year, is content to concentrate on trying to impress Capello in training. He said: "We'll just have to wait and see. You'll have to ask the manager. For me it would be a dream to play. There's no hiding that. I've said that for a long time, since before I got in the squad but we've got Jamie Carragher and Matthew Upson as well.
"But we're just concentrating on training and hopefully I'll do the best I can and then we'll see. I'm excited for Friday and the World Cup is an amazing experience and, from getting a call from the FA to say Rio was injured, it's all happened really quickly. To be part of it is great and I'm enjoying every minute of it. Unfortunately Ledley came off the other day with a groin injury but it's not too bad. He's out of the game on Friday but it's the manager's decision who he picks. I'm always hopeful."
Dawson, 26, is adamant the mood in the England camp is upbeat despite England being held to a 1-1 draw by the United States. He said: "Hopefully we'll get a win under our belts on Friday. We got a point against the USA. We would have liked to get more, but it wasn't to be. The mood is positive."
Dawson met the 12-year-old he sponsors for the first time at a village near Rustenburg yesterday. He was greeted by Aubrey, wearing a Wayne Rooney Manchester United shirt. The SOS children's village comprises ten family houses to take in up to 100 children, and a community-based childcare and support programme for children and families affected by HIV/AIDS has been set up.
Dawson said: "It's certainly different. It opens your eyes to the real world and, when you look at the smiles on the children's faces, it's great. It's scary with kids being affected by HIV but we've come here to try to put a smile on their faces. Tottenham have sponsored a house and the FA as well. If people like ourselves can do it (help), we hope many more people can do it as well.
"The Tottenham players all agreed to sponsor a child at the start of the season and fortunately enough I got to meet mine. When you come here and see how happy they are it's great. If we can do that, and help them have a better life, that's great."